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Why I believe in EENS.

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Why I believe in EENS.

Post  Jehanne on Thu Dec 23, 2010 12:34 am

Hi Everyone,

My first post. I love the Star Trek symbol to the left, by the way. Think that it is from Star Trek: TNG, but I am not sure. Here's why I, a professing Roman Catholic, believe in EENS:

1) Clearly attested in Sacred Scripture. Especially after our Lord Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead, it is clear that the Catholic Church and the Body of Christ are "one and the same." Lots of verses -- "Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained." Etc., etc.

2) Clearly attested in the writings of the Church Fathers. Even the CCC acknowledges this. Paragraph 846 states, "How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively..." How about understanding their words literally? They meant what they said, and they said what they meant.

3) Clear Magisterial declarations. Short but to the point. Difficult to read Unam Sanctam and not understand what Pope Boniface was saying. The use of "double negatives" would, in any court of law, be clearly understood by lawyers and non-lawyers alike!

4) Clear Magisterial references. The 3 declarations given in #3 were all quotes! Lateran IV was from Saint Cyprian (1000 years prior), Unam Sanctam was from Saint Thomas Aquinas (the Church's principle theologian), and Cantate Domino was from Saint Fulgentius (1000 years prior). Clearly, the 3 declarations represent the Ordinary Magisterium of the Church.

5) Denying EENS leads to self-contradictions. Lots of weird contradictions and inconsistent logic when you embrace the idea that non-Catholics can attain eternal life.

6) BoD/BoB never defined and for good reason. Saints and theologians, including Saint Thomas, never, ever applied BoD/BoB to anyone other than catechumens. For reasons similar to #5, not all Church fathers taught or even believed in BoD/BoB. Theological possibility for catechumens, perhaps, but theological certainty, no; for everyone else, a certain theological impossibility.

7) Vatican II contradicted itself. The Council said one thing in one place, only to contradict itself in another one of its 16 documents. By its own admission, it was pastoral, not doctrinal. Catholics can hardly be "bound" to believe in ambiguous, contradictory, internally inconsistent theology. Perhaps the Council's intent was, "It's not what you say, but how you say it."

I look forward to your comments!


Last edited by Jehanne on Thu Dec 23, 2010 6:48 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Why I believe in EENS.

Post  Roguejim on Thu Dec 23, 2010 6:44 am

Which Church Father didn't believe BOB/BOD?
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Re: Why I believe in EENS.

Post  Jehanne on Thu Dec 23, 2010 7:02 am

Roguejim wrote:Which Church Father didn't believe BOB/BOD?

Read the following:

http://catholicism.org/catholic-dogma-mueller.html

Especially, this quote:

Father Karl Rahner -- principle architect of Vatican II wrote:…we have to admit…that the testimony of the Fathers, with regard to the possibility of salvation for someone outside the Church, is very weak. Certainly even the ancient Church knew that the grace of God can be found also outside the Church and even before Faith. But the view that such divine grace can lead man to his final salvation without leading him first into the visible Church, is something, at any rate, which met with very little approval in the ancient Church. For, with reference to the optimistic views on the salvation of catechumens as found in many of the Fathers, it must be noted that such a candidate for baptism was regarded in some sense or other as already ‘Christianus’, and also that certain Fathers, such as Gregory Nazianzen and Gregory of Nyssa deny altogether the justifying power of love or of the desire for baptism. Hence it will be impossible to speak of a consensus dogmaticus in the early Church regarding the possibility of salvation for the non-baptized, and especially for someone who is not even a catechumen. In fact, even St. Augustine, in his last (anti-pelagian) period, no longer maintained the possibility of a baptism by desire.” ( Rahner, Karl, Theological Investigations, Volume II, Man in the Church)

Rahner was at least honest, wasn't he? (Well, at least except for his girlfriend.) Rahner believed that Catholic theology could "evolve," which is why he had no problem embracing artificial contraception and rejecting Humanae Vitae. "Today's heresy is tomorrow's dogma," or so the saying goes. I do not think that BoB/BoD were heretical ideas, just not defined. In any case, even if you could demonstrate unanimity among the Church Fathers that BoB/BoD are part of the Deposit of Faith, everyone, without exception, drew the line at catechumens. So, if you accept BoB/BoD, I am okay with that, as long as you do not "cross the line." (But, if you choose to do so, that's your business, and I am okay with that, also.)
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Re: Why I believe in EENS.

Post  Guest on Thu Dec 23, 2010 8:05 am

Jehanne wrote:
7) Vatican II contradicted itself. The Council said one thing in one place, only to contradict itself in another one of its 16 documents. By its own admission, it was pastoral, not doctrinal. Catholics can hardly be "bound" to believe in ambiguous, contradictory, internally inconsistent theology. Perhaps the Council's intent was, "It's not what you say, but how you say it."

Have you read this article by Brother Thomas Mary Sennott, MICM?

http://www.scribd.com/doc/23249763/Vatican-II-and-Extra-Ecclesiam-Nulla-Salus

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Re: Why I believe in EENS.

Post  Jehanne on Thu Dec 23, 2010 8:44 am

No, I have not. Another article that I have read by Brother Sennott is called Further Observations on the question of Salvation Outside the Church, where he also discusses some modern theologians' interpretation of Vatican II. Unfortunately, that document is no where to be found on the Internet. I have the hardcopy, if you ever want it. Just PM me, and I will mail it to you. Thanks for the link, though. It looks like a wonderful article, and I look forward to reading it.
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Re: Why I believe in EENS.

Post  Roguejim on Fri Dec 24, 2010 3:17 am

Jehanne wrote:
Roguejim wrote:Which Church Father didn't believe BOB/BOD?

Read the following:

http://catholicism.org/catholic-dogma-mueller.html

Especially, this quote:

Father Karl Rahner -- principle architect of Vatican II wrote:…we have to admit…that the testimony of the Fathers, with regard to the possibility of salvation for someone outside the Church, is very weak. Certainly even the ancient Church knew that the grace of God can be found also outside the Church and even before Faith. But the view that such divine grace can lead man to his final salvation without leading him first into the visible Church, is something, at any rate, which met with very little approval in the ancient Church. For, with reference to the optimistic views on the salvation of catechumens as found in many of the Fathers, it must be noted that such a candidate for baptism was regarded in some sense or other as already ‘Christianus’, and also that certain Fathers, such as Gregory Nazianzen and Gregory of Nyssa deny altogether the justifying power of love or of the desire for baptism. Hence it will be impossible to speak of a consensus dogmaticus in the early Church regarding the possibility of salvation for the non-baptized, and especially for someone who is not even a catechumen. In fact, even St. Augustine, in his last (anti-pelagian) period, no longer maintained the possibility of a baptism by desire.” ( Rahner, Karl, Theological Investigations, Volume II, Man in the Church)

Rahner was at least honest, wasn't he? (Well, at least except for his girlfriend.) Rahner believed that Catholic theology could "evolve," which is why he had no problem embracing artificial contraception and rejecting Humanae Vitae. "Today's heresy is tomorrow's dogma," or so the saying goes. I do not think that BoB/BoD were heretical ideas, just not defined. In any case, even if you could demonstrate unanimity among the Church Fathers that BoB/BoD are part of the Deposit of Faith, everyone, without exception, drew the line at catechumens. So, if you accept BoB/BoD, I am okay with that, as long as you do not "cross the line." (But, if you choose to do so, that's your business, and I am okay with that, also.)

Can you provide the actual quotes, in context, of the two Gregorys? I believe I've read the quote of Gregory Nazianzen which is contained in a longer sermon. No one ever shows the entire sermon in which he makes it clear that he is speaking of catechumens who intentionally or negligently delay their baptisms. I'd like to see the quotes of Gregory of Nyssa if you have them.
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Re: Why I believe in EENS.

Post  Dominion on Fri Dec 24, 2010 3:36 am

Jehanne is French for Joan, as in Joan of Arc. Is Don a guy?
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Re: Why I believe in EENS.

Post  Jehanne on Fri Dec 24, 2010 10:19 am

Dominion wrote:Jehanne is French for Joan, as in Joan of Arc. Is <edit> a guy?

I was not supposed to sign my name. That is against forum rules. (However, as stated in a number of Timmy Turner episodes, "No one reads the manual!" Oops, I did not say that.) Yes, "Jehanne" is for Saint Jehanne la Pucelle (aka, "Joan of Arc"), an individual whom I have both a spiritual and historical interest in. (She spoke to angels, and angels spoke with her -- very interesting testimony from her on this, by the way, available online.) So, if you would please edit your post, I am sure our beloved moderator would appreciate it.
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Re: Why I believe in EENS.

Post  Jehanne on Fri Dec 24, 2010 10:35 am

Roguejim wrote:Can you provide the actual quotes, in context, of the two Gregorys? I believe I've read the quote of Gregory Nazianzen which is contained in a longer sermon. No one ever shows the entire sermon in which he makes it clear that he is speaking of catechumens who intentionally or negligently delay their baptisms. I'd like to see the quotes of Gregory of Nyssa if you have them.

Not off hand. One can only assume that the later Father Karl Rahner, who's scholarly credentials no one ever questioned, would know what he was talking about. I could look, but then again, so you could you. Here is one place I would try:

http://www.ccel.org/

They seem to have it all there. I am also sure that the SBC would have resources, also. In any case, let's assume that you are correct, that an unanimity of the Church's Fathers taught BoD/BoB. They never, ever applied it outside of catechumens, that is, people who had made an explicit faith commitment and vow to be baptized. Trent, by the way, uses "votum," which is the Latin word for vow. Our beloved moderator sent me the following article (linked to above):

http://www.scribd.com/doc/23249763/Vatican-II-and-Extra-Ecclesiam-Nulla-Salus

The idea of "implicit faith" was dropped in Vatican II documents.
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Welcome aboard !!

Post  Guest on Fri Dec 24, 2010 12:33 pm

Welcome aboard Jehanne!

Roguejim is a good guy he is just our friendly resident skeptic. He asks the quizzing questions. He is a good Catholic but I really don't know what his position is on EENS and he is defiantly "feeneyite" friendly. After all the ups and downs on our last forum he is a champ! Aren't you Jim? Very Happy

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Re: Why I believe in EENS.

Post  Roguejim on Fri Dec 24, 2010 7:25 pm

Jehanne wrote:
Roguejim wrote:Can you provide the actual quotes, in context, of the two Gregorys? I believe I've read the quote of Gregory Nazianzen which is contained in a longer sermon. No one ever shows the entire sermon in which he makes it clear that he is speaking of catechumens who intentionally or negligently delay their baptisms. I'd like to see the quotes of Gregory of Nyssa if you have them.

Not off hand. One can only assume that the later Father Karl Rahner, who's scholarly credentials no one ever questioned, would know what he was talking about. I could look, but then again, so you could you. Here is one place I would try:

http://www.ccel.org/

They seem to have it all there. I am also sure that the SBC would have resources, also. In any case, let's assume that you are correct, that an unanimity of the Church's Fathers taught BoD/BoB. They never, ever applied it outside of catechumens, that is, people who had made an explicit faith commitment and vow to be baptized. Trent, by the way, uses "votum," which is the Latin word for vow. Our beloved moderator sent me the following article (linked to above):

http://www.scribd.com/doc/23249763/Vatican-II-and-Extra-Ecclesiam-Nulla-Salus

The idea of "implicit faith" was dropped in Vatican II documents.

Jehanne, have you read the actual quotes to which you refer? Or, are you simply throwing out the names of the two Gregorys because of someone else's claim? No problem if you are doing the latter, but, it's not really incumbent on me to search out quotes or positions that you claim exist. You should do the work and prove your own claim. Pax.
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Re: Why I believe in EENS.

Post  Roguejim on Fri Dec 24, 2010 7:41 pm

duckbill wrote:Welcome aboard Jehanne!

Roguejim is a good guy he is just our friendly resident skeptic. He asks the quizzing questions. He is a good Catholic but I really don't know what his position is on EENS and he is defiantly "feeneyite" friendly. After all the ups and downs on our last forum he is a champ! Aren't you Jim? Very Happy

Duckbill, your spellchecker doesn't seem to be working. The word you're looking for is c-h-u-m-p.

I am a reformed Feeneyite. I think I am on the same page as Mryan, although he is much more clear in his thoughts than I am. After all the arguments are finished, (of course, they will never be) and the dust settles, I just want to be on the same page as the Church. Sometimes, however, I have trouble finding the page.
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Re: Why I believe in EENS.

Post  Guest on Sat Dec 25, 2010 12:28 am

Roguejim wrote:
duckbill wrote:Welcome aboard Jehanne!

Roguejim is a good guy he is just our friendly resident skeptic. He asks the quizzing questions. He is a good Catholic but I really don't know what his position is on EENS and he is defiantly "feeneyite" friendly. After all the ups and downs on our last forum he is a champ! Aren't you Jim? Very Happy

Duckbill, your spellchecker doesn't seem to be working. The word you're looking for is c-h-u-m-p.

I am a reformed Feeneyite. I think I am on the same page as Mryan, although he is much more clear in his thoughts than I am. After all the arguments are finished, (of course, they will never be) and the dust settles, I just want to be on the same page as the Church. Sometimes, however, I have trouble finding the page.

Hmmmm... I didn't know you were so skeptical. But you have always been nice to me Very Happy
Check out this article:
http://catholicvox.blogspot.com/2009/03/poll-of-fathers-tradition-of-fathers.html

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Re: Why I believe in EENS.

Post  Elisa on Sat Dec 25, 2010 3:12 am

St. Augustine said we should never pray for martyrs. And in fact, the Church has never prayed for martyrs, including those without earthly visible baptism. So if the Church as never prayed for any martyrs, it would be negligent if she did not believe they were all saved.

St. Augustine:
A Christian people celebrates together in religious solemnity the memorials of the martyrs, both to encourage their being imitated and so that it can share in their merits and be aided by their prayers.” - from Against Faustus the Manichean, by Saint Augustine

There is an ecclesiastical discipline, as the faithful know, when the names of the martyrs are read aloud in that place at the altar of God, where prayer is not offered for them. Prayer, however, is offered for the dead who are remembered. For it is wrong to pray for a martyr, to whose prayers we ought ourselves be commended. - from Sermons by Saint Augustine

At the Lord’s table we do not commemorate martyrs in the same way that we do others who rest in peace so as to pray for them, but rather that they may pray for us that we may follow in their footsteps. - from Homilies on John by Saint Augustine
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Re: Why I believe in EENS.

Post  Elisa on Sat Dec 25, 2010 3:23 am

Jim,
I wrote that on Pascendi's and saved it in my Word file.
Here are some other things I wrote and quoted Mike from there. Following it were the quotes from St. Gregory you were asking about. Sorry I don't have time to edit it all.

____________----

It is clearly as Mike said:

"It may be tempting to take St. Gregory out of context. But we should remember when he speaks of baptism of desire, he may have been talking about a mere wish and not a true will, as was common at the time with the high number of converts who arrived soon after the persecutions ended. In fact, this type of tepid “desire” was prevalent in St. Augustine before he finally converted. So if someone feels an inclination for baptism, but does not resolve firmly to be baptized and does not already conform his life to that of the faithful by a living faith, and puts off his baptism, he will not be rewarded by God (by entreaty) with an interior regeneration."

Elisa:

Remember St. Augustine said he prayed before his conversion, “give me faith, but not just yet.”

I do suggest that those who can, read both Orations for yourselves in their entirety. If you read only one, read 40, it is more pertinent to these discussions. If you read them both in context and in entirety you will clearly see that St. Gregory is not talking about everyone dying before being baptized losing their salvation. He is not denying BOB and BOD.

I especially like XX and XXI about the parable about the laborers in the vineyard. Apart from these discussions, these orations are well worth the read. “For from the day and hour at which each believed, from that day and hour he is required to work.”
He is basically saying not to wait to become a Christian and to do so when God calls you, on his time, not yours. I’m sure most of you know how back then many people waited until they were dying to be baptized. Because they wanted to live their lives the way they wanted and then at the end have the slate wiped clean of all their sins with baptism. Both forgiveness of sins and removal of temporal punishment. It is said that Constantine did this. They want to have their cake and eat it too. This is not from their heart for most and for others it’s just ignorance.

And he is also talking about the graces we receive in baptism being beneficial to us while we are still running the race. Because we receive the graces to strengthen u in life. And he warns that the covenant is to lead better lives and try and reframe from sin as much as possible so we do not need to be reconciled again after baptism, though contrition and penance. That is better than postponing baptism for only one reconciliation at the end of life. And he mentions that if you wait, you might change your mind later and not want baptism ever.

He is talking about those who postpone their baptism. Mostly on purpose and for evil, scheming, silly or ignorant reasons. Those who do not value it, may lose it.

St. Gregory talks about this in paragraph after lengthy paragraph. And in all of it, he only devotes a few short lines in one paragraph to those who die without baptism who “are prevented from receiving it, even if they wish,” including infants. He doesn’t say they are punished like the other people, but “will be neither glorified nor punished by the righteous Judge, as unsealed and yet not wicked, but persons who have suffered rather than done wrong. For not every one who is not bad enough to be punished is good enough to be honoured; just as not every one who is not good enough to be honoured is bad enough to be punished.”

So St. Gregory here is saying that not only do some infants go to limbo, some adults do as well. Some adults go to Heaven, some to Hell and some to a third place for all eternity? Limbo? Is this what you all believe? Is this what the Church has taught or is this a speculation by the great Saint and Doctor?

Another way to look at what he is doing is he is already putting people who desire baptism in a separate category. Not in Heaven, but not damned either.
But I wonder exactly who these people are that St. Gregory talks about. Because in his 2 Orations he doesn’t just talk about the water part of baptism, but being baptized with water and the Holy Spirit. Some people receive the grace for faith and charity and have the Holy Spirit before they receive baptism. (not infants) Others receive the grace during/after baptism. Some are justified before the sacrament.

Is St. Gregory talking about these people? Would an innocent, yet ignorant infant be in the same category as one of these?

Or when the Saint talks about those who “wish” or “desire” to be baptized, is he talking about good people who wanted to be baptized because in their minds they thought it was a good idea? They were on the path to receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit and being given the gift of faith, but didn’t have it yet in their hearts.

They had good intentions, but did they have the desire burning in their hearts along with the Holy Spirit, like those people the Church talks about who may receive BOB or BOD? True faith and love of Christ. Those who had already been given grace, anticipating further grace, or those waiting for the grace for justification to be given?

This is all speculation, because, if you read the entire thing, St. Gregory isn’t really clear on this either way, not in such detail, as when he talks about those who are negligent or have evil intent. You come away feeling that what we call BOD and BOB was not his point in these orations.

He says, “You are speaking in riddles, if what you mean is that because of God's mercy the unenlightened is enlightened in His sight; and he is within the kingdom of heaven who merely desires to attain to it, but refrains from doing that which pertains to the kingdom.”

This line seems to indicate what I am trying to say. Is a justified catechumen “unenlightened?”

And he says, “Therefore do not delay in coming to grace, but hasten.”

What about those who already had the grace of the Holy Spirit and were awaiting the sacrament? Like some in the New Testament. They were not those “coming to grace,” but those coming to further grace and to be sealed.

Again I ask, how much “more august” would baptism of blood be, why superior to normal visible earthly water baptism, if some martyrs are not saved?
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Re: Why I believe in EENS.

Post  Elisa on Sat Dec 25, 2010 3:38 am

These orations were to be taken together, preached a day apart. They talk about the necessity and great gift of Baptism.

St.Gregory of Nazianzen - Doctor of the Church

http://newadvent.org/fathers/310239.htm

excerpts pertinent to these discussions

Oration 39 Oration on the Holy Lights.


XVII. Now, since our Festival is of Baptism, and we must endure a little hardness with Him Who for our sake took form, and was baptized, and was crucified; let us speak about the different kinds of Baptism, that we may come out thence purified. Moses baptized Leviticus xi but it was in water, and before that in the cloud and in the sea. 1 Corinthians 10:2 This was typical as Paul says; the Sea of the water, and the Cloud of the Spirit; the Manna, of the Bread of Life; the Drink, of the Divine Drink. John also baptized; but this was not like the baptism of the Jews, for it was not only in water, but also unto repentance. Still it was not wholly spiritual, for he does not add And in the Spirit. Jesus also baptized, but in the Spirit. This is the perfect Baptism. And how is He not God, if I may digress a little, by whom you too are made God? I know also a Fourth Baptism— that by Martyrdom and blood, which also Christ himself underwent:— and this one is far more august than all the others, inasmuch as it cannot be defiled by after-stains. Yes, and I know of a Fifth also, which is that of tears, and is much more laborious, received by him who washes his bed every night and his couch with tears; whose bruises stink through his wickedness; and who goes mourning and of a sad countenance; who imitates the repentance of Manasseh Ninevites Jonah 3:7-10 upon which God had mercy; who utters the words of the Publican in the Temple, and is justified rather than the stiff-necked Pharisee; Luke 18:13 who like the Canaanite woman bends down and asks for mercy and crumbs, the food of a dog that is very hungry. Matthew 15:27


Oration 40 The Oration on Holy Baptism.

http://newadvent.org/fathers/310240.htm

Excerpts:

VIII. And since we are double-made, I mean of body and soul, and the one part is visible, the other invisible, so the cleansing also is twofold, by water and the spirit; the one received visibly in the body, the other concurring with it invisibly and apart from the body; the one typical, the other real and cleansing the depths. And this which comes to the aid of our first birth, makes us new instead of old, and like God instead of what we now are; recasting us without fire, and creating us anew without breaking us up. For, to say it all in one word, the virtue of Baptism is to be understood as a covenant with God for a second life and a purer conversation. And indeed all need to fear this very much, and to watch our own souls, each one of us, with all care, that we do not become liars in respect of this profession. For if God is called upon as a Mediator to ratify human professions, how great is the danger if we be found transgressors of the covenant which we have made with God Himself; and if we be found guilty before the Truth Himself of that lie, besides our other transgressions...and that when there is no second regeneration, or recreation, or restoration to our former state, even though we seek it with all our might, and with many sighs and tears, by which it is cicatrized over (with great difficulty in my opinion, though we all believe that it may be cicatrized). Yet if we might wipe away even the scars I should be glad, since I too have need of mercy. But it is better not to stand in need of a second cleansing, but to stop at the first, which is, I know, common to all, and involves no labour, and is of equal price to slaves, to masters, to poor, to rich, to humble, to exalted, to gentle, to simple, to debtors, to those who are free from debt; like the breathing of the air, and the pouring forth of the light, and the changes of the seasons, and the sight of creation, that great delight which we all share alike, and the equal distribution of the faith.

IX. For it is a strange thing to substitute for a painless remedy one which is more painful; to cast away the grace of mercy, and owe a debt of punishment; and to measure our amendment against sin. For how many tears must we contribute before they can equal the fount of baptism; and who will be surety for us that death shall wait for our cure, and that the judgment seat shall not summon us while still debtors, and needing the fire of the other world?
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XI. Let us then be baptized that we may win the victory; let us partake of the cleansing waters, more purifying than hyssop, purer than the legal blood, more sacred than the ashes of the heifer sprinkling the unclean, Hebrews 10:4 and providing a temporary cleansing of the body, but not a complete taking away of sin; for if once purged, why should they need further purification? Let us be baptized today, that we suffer not violence tomorrow; and let us not put off the blessing as if it were an injury, nor wait till we get more wicked that more may be forgiven us; and let us not become sellers and traffickers of Christ, lest we become more heavily burdened than we are able to bear, that we be not sunk with all hands and make shipwreck of the Gift, and lose all because we expected too much. While you are still master of your thoughts run to the Gift. While you are not yet sick in body or in mind, nor seemest so to those who are with you (though you are really of sound mind); while your good is not yet in the power of others, but you yourself art still master of it; while your tongue is not stammering or parched, or (to say no more) deprived of the power of pronouncing the sacramental words; while you can still be made one of the faithful, not conjecturally but confessedly; and canst still receive not pity but congratulation; while the Gift is still clear to you, and there is no doubt about it; while the grace can reach the depth of your soul, and it is not merely your body that is washed for burial; and before tears surround you announcing your decease— and even these restrained perhaps for your sake— and your wife and children would delay your departure, and are listening for your dying words; before the physician is powerless to help you, and is giving you but hours to live— hours which are not his to give— and is balancing your salvation with the nod of his head, and discoursing learnedly on your disease after you are dead, or making his charges heavier by withdrawals, or hinting at despair; before there is a struggle between the man who would baptize you and the man who seeks your money, the one striving that you may receive your Viaticum, the other that he may be inscribed in your Will as heir— and there is no time for both.

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But are you afraid lest you should destroy the Gift, and do you therefore put off your cleansing, because you cannot have it a second time? What? Would you not be afraid of danger in time of persecution, and of losing the most precious Thing you have— Christ? Would you then on this account avoid becoming a Christian? Perish the thought. Such a fear is not for a sane man; such an argument argues insanity. O incautious caution, if I may so. O trick of the Evil One! Truly he is darkness and pretends to be light; and when he can no longer prevail in open war, he lays snares in secret, and gives advice, apparently good, really evil, if by some trick at least he may prevail, and we find no escape from his plotting. And this is clearly what he is aiming at in this instance. For, being unable to persuade you to despise Baptism, he inflicts loss upon you through a fictitious security; that in consequence of your fear you may suffer unconsciously the very thing you are afraid of; and because you fear to destroy the Gift, you may for this very reason fail of the Gift altogether. This is his character; and he will never cease his duplicity as long as he sees us pressing onwards towards heaven from which he has fallen. Wherefore, O man of God, do thou recognize the plots of your adversary; for the battle is against him that has, and it is concerned with the most important interests. Take not your enemy to be your counsellor; despise not to be and to be called Faithful. As long as you are a Catechumen you are but in the porch of Religion; you must come inside, and cross the court, and observe the Holy Things, and look into the Holy of Holies, and be in company with the Trinity. Great are the interests for which you are fighting, great too the stability which you need. Protect yourself with the shield of faith. He fears you, if you fight armed with this weapon, and therefore he would strip you of the Gift, that he may the more easily overcome you unarmed and defenceless. He assails every age, and every form of life; he must be repelled by all.

XVII.Are you young? Stand against your passions; be numbered with the alliance in the army of God: do valiantly against Goliath. 1 Samuel 17:32 Take your thousands or your myriads; thus enjoy your manhood; but do not allow your youth to be withered, being killed by the imperfection of your faith. Are you old and near the predestined necessity? Aid your few remaining days. Entrust the purification to your old age. Why do you fear youthful passion in deep old age and at your last breath? Or will you wait to be washed till you are dead, and not so much the object of pity as of dislike? Are you regretting the dregs of pleasure, being yourself in the dregs of life? It is a shameful thing to be past indeed the flower of your age, but not past your wickedness; but either to be involved in it still, or at least to seem so by delaying your purification. Have you an infant child? Do not let sin get any opportunity, but let him be sanctified from his childhood; from his very tenderest age let him be consecrated by the Spirit. Fearest thou the Seal on account of the weakness of nature? O what a small-souled mother, and of how little faith! Why, Anna even before Samuel was born 1 Samuel 1:10 promised him to God, and after his birth consecrated him at once, and brought him up in the priestly habit, not fearing anything in human nature, but trusting in God. You have no need of amulets or incantations, with which the Devil also comes in, stealing worship from God for himself in the minds of vainer men. Give your child the Trinity, that great and noble Guard.

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And in one word, there is no state of life and no occupation to which Baptism is not profitable. You who are a free man, be curbed by it; you who are in slavery, be made of equal rank; you who are in grief, receive comfort; let the gladsome be disciplined; the poor receive riches that cannot be taken away; the rich be made capable of being good stewards of their possessions. Do not play tricks or lay plots against your own salvation. For even if we can delude others we cannot delude ourselves. And so to play against oneself is very dangerous and foolish.
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XX. But some will say, What shall I gain, if, when I am preoccupied by baptism, and have cut off myself by my haste from the pleasures of life, when it was in my power to give the reins to pleasure, and then to obtain grace? For the labourers in the vineyard who had worked the longest time gained nothing thereby, for equal wages were given to the very last. You have delivered me from some trouble, whoever you are who say this, because you have at last with much difficulty told the secret of your delay; and though I cannot applaud your shiftiness, I do applaud your confession. But come hither and listen to the interpretation of the parable, that you may not be injured by Scripture for want of information. First of all, there is no question here of baptism, but of those who believe at different times and enter the good vineyard of the Church. For from the day and hour at which each believed, from that day and hour he is required to work. And then, although they who entered first contributed more to the measure of the labour yet they did not contribute more to the measure of the purpose; nay perhaps even more was due to the last in respect of this, though the statement may seem paradoxical. For the cause of their later entrance was their later call to the work of the vineyard. In all other respects let us see how different they are. The first did not believe or enter till they had agreed on their hire; but the others came forward to do the work without an agreement, which is a proof of greater faith. And the first were found to be of an envious and murmuring nature, but no such charge is brought against the others. And to the first, that which was given was wages, though they were worthless fellows; to the last it was the free gift. So that the first were convicted of folly, and with reason deprived of the greater reward. Let us see what would have happened to them if they had been late. Why, the equal pay, evidently. How then can they blame the employer as unjust because of their equality? For all these things take away the merit of their labour from the first, although they were at work first; and therefore it turns out that the distribution of equal pay was just, if you measure the good will against the labour.

XXI. But supposing that the Parable does sketch the power of the font according to your interpretation, what would prevent you, if you entered first, and bore the heat, from avoiding envy of the last, that by this very lovingkindness you might obtain more, and receive the reward, not as of grace but as of debt? And next, the workmen who receive the wages are those who have entered, not those who have missed, the vineyard; which last is like to be your case. So that if it were certain that you would obtain the Gift, though you are of such a mind, and maliciously keep back some of the labour, you might be forgiven for taking refuge in such arguments, and desiring to make unlawful gain out of the kindness of the master; though I might assure you that the very fact of being able to labour is a greater reward to any who is not altogether of a huckstering mind. But since there is a risk of your being altogether shut out of the vineyard through your bargaining, and losing the capital through stopping to pick up little gains, do let yourselves be persuaded by my words to forsake the false interpretations and contradictions, and to come forward without arguing to receive the Gift, lest you should be snatched away before you realize your hopes, and should find out that it was to your own loss that you devised these sophistries.

XXII. But then, you say, is not God merciful, and since He knows our thoughts and searches out our desires, will He not take the desire of Baptism instead of Baptism? You are speaking in riddles, if what you mean is that because of God's mercy the unenlightened is enlightened in His sight; and he is within the kingdom of heaven who merely desires to attain to it, but refrains from doing that which pertains to the kingdom.
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XXIII. And so also in those who fail to receive the Gift, some are altogether animal or bestial, according as they are either foolish or wicked; and this, I think, has to be added to their other sins, that they have no reverence at all for this Gift, but look upon it as a mere gift— to be acquiesced in if given them, and if not given them, then to be neglected. Others know and honour the Gift, but put it off; some through laziness, some through greediness. Others are not in a position to receive it, perhaps on account of infancy, or some perfectly involuntary circumstance through which they are prevented from receiving it, even if they wish. As then in the former case we found much difference, so too in this. They who altogether despise it are worse than they who neglect it through greed or carelessness. These are worse than they who have lost the Gift through ignorance or tyranny, for tyranny is nothing but an involuntary error. And I think that the first will have to suffer punishment, as for all their sins, so for their contempt of baptism; and that the second will also have to suffer, but less, because it was not so much through wickedness as through folly that they wrought their failure; and that the third will be neither glorified nor punished by the righteous Judge, as unsealed and yet not wicked, but persons who have suffered rather than done wrong. For not every one who is not bad enough to be punished is good enough to be honoured; just as not every one who is not good enough to be honoured is bad enough to be punished. And I look upon it as well from another point of view. If you judge the murderously disposed man by his will alone, apart from the act of murder, then you may reckon as baptized him who desired baptism apart from the reception of baptism. But if you cannot do the one how can you do the other? I cannot see it. Or, if you like, we will put it thus:— If desire in your opinion has equal power with actual baptism, then judge in the same way in regard to glory, and you may be content with longing for it, as if that were itself glory. And what harm is done you by your not attaining the actual glory, as long as you have the desire for it?

XXIV. Therefore since you have heard these words, come forward to it, and be enlightened, and your faces shall not be ashamed through missing the Grace. Receive then the Enlightenment in due season, that darkness pursue you not, and catch you, and sever you from the Illumining. The night comes when no man can work John 12:35 after our departure hence. The one is the voice of David, the other of the True Light which lights every man that comes into the world. And consider how Solomon reproves you who are too idle or lethargic, saying, How long will you sleep, O sluggard, Proverbs 6:9 and when will you arise out of your sleep? You rely upon this or that, and pretend pretences in sins; am waiting for Epiphany; I prefer Easter; I will wait for Pentecost. It is better to be baptized with Christ, to rise with Christ on the Day of His Resurrection, Matthew 24:50 to honour the Manifestation of the Spirit. And what then? The end will come suddenly in a day for which you look not, and in an hour that you are not aware of; and then you will have for a companion lack of grace; and you will be famished in the midst of all those riches of goodness, though you ought to reap the opposite fruit from the opposite course, a harvest by diligence, and refreshment from the font, like the thirsty hart that runs in haste to the spring, and quenches the labour of his race by water; and not to be in Ishmael's case, dried up for want of water, or as the fable has it, punished by thirst in the midst of a spring. It is a sad thing to let the market day go by and then to seek for work. It is a sad thing to let the Manna pass and then to long for food. It is a sad thing to take a counsel too late, and to become sensible of the loss only when it is impossible to repair it; that is, after our departure hence, and the bitter closing of the acts of each man's life, and the punishment of sinners, and the glory of the purified. Therefore do not delay in coming to grace, but hasten, lest the robber outstrip you, lest the adulterer pass you by, lest the insatiate be satisfied before you, lest the murderer seize the blessing first, or the publican or the fornicator, or any of these violent ones who take the Kingdom of heaven by force. Matthew 11:12 For it suffers violence willingly, and is tyrannized over through goodness.
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XXVI. Let nothing hinder you from going on, nor draw you away from your readiness. While your desire is still vehement, seize upon that which you desire. While the iron is hot, let it be tempered by the cold water, lest anything should happen in the interval, and put an end to your desire. . . . . .

XLVI. But one thing more I preach unto you. The Station in which you shall presently stand after your Baptism before the Great Sanctuary is a foretype of the future glory. The Psalmody with which you will be received is a prelude to the Psalmody of Heaven; the lamps which you will kindle are a Sacrament of the illumination there with which we shall meet the Bridegroom, shining and virgin souls, with the lamps of our faith shining, not sleeping through our carelessness, that we may not miss Him that we look for if He come unexpectedly; nor yet unfed, and without oil, and destitute of good works, that we be not cast out of the Bridechamber. For I see how pitiable is such a case. He will come when the cry demands the meeting, and they who are prudent shall meet Him, with their light shining and its food abundant, but the others seeking for oil too late from those who possess it. And He will come with speed, and the former shall go in with Him, but the latter shall be shut out, having wasted in preparations the time of entrance; and they shall weep sore when all too late they learn the penalty of their slothfulness, when the Bride-chamber can no longer be entered by them for all their entreaties, for they have shut it against themselves by their sin, following in another fashion the example of those who missed the Wedding feast with which the good Father feasts the good Bridegroom; one on account of a newly wedded wife; another of a newly purchased field; another of a yoke of oxen; which he and they acquired to their misfortune, since for the sake of the little they lose the great. For none are there of the disdainful, nor of the slothful, nor of those who are clothed in filthy rags and not in the Wedding garment even though here they may have thought themselves worthy of wearing the bright robe there, and secretly intruded themselves, deceiving themselves with vain hopes. And then, What? When we have entered, then the Bridegroom knows what He will teach us, and how He will converse with the souls that have come in with Him. He will converse with them, I think in teaching things more perfect and more pure. Of which may we all, both Teachers and Taught, have share, in the Same Christ our Lord, to Whom be the Glory and the Empire, for ever and ever. Amen.
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